Magna Carta 800th Anniversary

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I spent Monday at Runnymede, on the 800th Anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta on that meadow. (Though personally, I like to think that it took place just the other side of the river in the Priory that used to sit beside the Ankerwick Yew.) Four thousand people came to celebrate the anniversary, including the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and of course the Queen (for one moment I was this far away from her!). I was there as part of the army of volunteers who helped run the event.

My role was part of the team of interpreters there to introduce people to the new artwork which has been commissioned by Surrey County Council and the National Trust to mark the anniversary. There’s a lot more about the piece, called The Jurors, at the end of this link. Its a great piece, by Hew Locke – twelve bronze chairs in the middle of the meadow. It proved a big hit with the crowds, who lost no time in sitting down on the chairs, and making connections between the stories the chairs told and their own lives.

Each chair is decorated with two reliefs, and I’ve chosen just a few of my favourites for the slideshow at the top of the post. Most of these photos were taken a few days before the event, when we volunteer interpreters got our first look at the piece, and they were taken more as a reminder as I revised some of the stories each relief reveals, so forgive the less than artistic photographs. There’s  a lot more details on the stories in the link above, as well as a personal audio guided tour from Hew himself, and, from that site, this is a great YouTube video of how Hew was inspired by the site and how it was made:

Everybody loved The Jurors, and I’ve heard reports from the team at Runnymede that it has attracted little crowds every day since the event. In fact they’ve asked us interpreters to return on a few predicated busy days to help interpret the piece. I think I might, once I’ve checked my diary. It was such a pleasure to work with.

Finally let me close with my picture of the Red Arrows flypast. I only took it on my phone, so its not a brilliant image of the Arrows themselves, but there’s something about the sky that I like.

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